Epic Games has paid Apple US$6 million (approximately $8.1 million) as the result of a lawsuit over the game Fortnite.
The lawsuit originally began because Epic Games objected to the 30 per cent cut of revenue Apple took when users made in-game purchases on apps. As a result, Epic changed their popular game Fortnite to bypass Apple’s App store payment. Apple then removed Fortnite from the app store.
The removal of Fortnite prompted to Epic to launch a lawsuit, and for Apple to launch a countersuit accordingly.
It has been a long, complex case, with arguments initially made in May. Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ ruling was made earlier this month.
Ultimately, Judge Gonzalez Rogers’ found in Apple’s favour on nine out of ten counts, however, crucially ruled that Apple’s policy did not comply with California’s Unfair Competition Law.
As a result, Apple will now have to let app developers add “buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms,” essentially allowing an alternative to in-app purchases.
However, Epic Games was ordered to pay Apple 30 per cent of the US$12 million it made on in-app purchases between August 2020 and October 2020, when Epic was bypassing Apple’s cut of revenue.
It was also ordered to pay back 30 per cent of revenue gained between November 1st 2020, to the date of the judgement itself.
Apple welcomed the judgement in a statement reading: “today the Court has affirmed what we’ve known all along: the App Store is not in violation of antitrust law. As the Court recognised ‘success is not illegal’.”
“Apple faces rigorous competition in every segment in which we do business, and we believe customers and developers choose us because our products and services are the best in the world.”
Epic Games’ CEO Tim Sweeney confirmed via Twitter than Epic had paid Apple the sum. Epic has already launched an appeal against the court’s decision.
In a tweet from September 11, after the Judge ruled largely in favour of Apple, Sweeney wrote: “just as determined as ever to fight on until there is genuine developer and consumer freedom in software, and fair competition in each mobile platform software component.”
He also confirmed that Fortnite would not, at present, be returning to the App Store.
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